Filled with meaty, sweet-tasting flesh, black-tipped stone crab claws are a luxury food item. The claws of stone crabs, which come from Florida, are the only parts of the crab that are harvested and eaten. It is illegal to sell stone crabs whole. Stone crab claws are always sold cooked, and, in many cases, frozen. While they can be eaten cold, the claws can also be reheated before you consume them. Serve the claws whole and in their shell, alongside dipping sauces. You can also remove the meat from the claws to use in a sandwich, pasta dish or salad.
As they are precooked, claws only need to be reheated before they are ready to eat. Boiling or steaming -- wet-heat methods -- can keep the crab meat succulent and juicy but can also create a watery texture to the meat. However, seasoning the reheating liquid prior to cooking lets you add additional flavors to your claws. For example, add Old Bay seasoning, or your preferred mix of dried, ground spices, to the liquid prior to boiling, or dust your thawed or frozen claws with the seasoning powder prior to steaming.
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- Boil 1-pound of frozen claws for 10 minutes -- eight minutes for thawed claws.
- Steam 1 pound of frozen claws for eight minutes -- six minutes for thawed claws.
Stone crab claws can be safely reheated in the microwave, although this method works best for defrosted rather than frozen claws. This is because microwaves reheat foods unevenly, and too much time can lead to overcooking in spots.
- Heat 1 pound of thawed claws on a microwave-safe plate on high for three minutes.
- Cover the claws with plastic wrap, leaving one corner open for steam to escape, to prevent the meat from drying out.
Roasting for Sweet Meat
Stone crab claws can be roasted -- from frozen or thawed -- in the oven. This reheating method leads to firm, succulent meat that is less watery than either steaming, microwaving or boiling.
- Roast the crab claws on a baking sheet in a 350 degree-Fahrenheit oven until they are warmed through.
- It will take roughly 15 minutes for 2 pounds of large, thawed crab claws to fully reheat.
For all reheating methods, avoid overcooking the claws, as this can lead to rubbery dry meat that sticks to the shell.
Seasoning and Serving Ideas
Stone crab claws are most often served alongside dipping sauces, such as clarified butter or a mustard-based dipping sauce. The crab meat can be removed from its shell prior to serving for a more elegant presentation. Removing the meat after reheating and before serving it allows you to flavor the meat with other items, such as freshly minced herbs and an infused oil. Minced parsley and coriander can be paired with a lemony chili-infused olive oil for a fresh but spicy twist on crab claws.
Keep the claws warm after shelling them by storing them in a covered container, and serve them immediately. Do not reheat the meat after you have taken it out of the shell.